Startups

3 takeaways from Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures’ annual report

JHTV is still supporting entrepreneurship at Hopkins and helping scale innovative ideas into profitable startups.

Johns Hopkins University.

(Technical.ly file photo; source unknown)

Johns Hopkins University is offering a by-the-numbers look into its entrepreneurship ecosystem with the recent release of Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures’ (JHTV) annual report.

JHTV works with faculty and students to bring discoveries from the lab to market, as well as incubates new companies. From July 2021 to June 2022, startups spun out of the university raised $264 million in venture capital and $30 million in public equity financing, according to the report. This is a far cry from the $1.2 billion in venture funding Hopkins startups saw last fiscal year. It’s another example of how much the markets have cooled in 2022.

The report highlighted developments and successes among Hopkins-connected companies in several key categories. Here are some important takeaways from the report’s chronicles of startups, student ventures and the Social Innovation Lab (SIL):

Major money moves

The big raises and acquisitions the report noted this fiscal year were:

Student success

Student ventures from Hopkins were highlighted with $49 million raised in VC money. The Hopkins innovation hub out of Remington, FastForward U, awarded $400K in grants this fiscal year.

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The student company JHTV sees as the brightest star is InfernoGuard, cofounded by undergraduate neuroscience and computer science major Nandita Balaji. The company has been on a tear in national pitch competitions, taking first place in contests at Arizona State University, Northwestern University and Smith College. It also won additional funds via the Microsoft Innovation Acceleration Awards program earlier this year.

“For a lot of students, FastForward U gives them their first taste of entrepreneurship,” explained JHTV Executive Director Christy Wyskiel via email. “As part of the university’s educational mission, we focus on building skills and serving as a sort of playground for innovation-minded students. We hope that student ventures become sustainable businesses that enrich the Baltimore ecosystem, but many students will simply apply their experiences in their career planning. We also offer students a number of grant opportunities — $5,000 to $25,000 — which are modest but can go a long way.”

Social innovation superstars

The report additionally noted the history of SIL’s support of mission-driven leaders and ventures. It also noted that SIL has helped orgs secure $87.1 million in funding since its founding in 2012.

JHTV additionally shone a light on 2022 SIL winner Ballet After Dark as an example of the 80% woman-led, 70% community-led and 70% co-led by people of color entities that SIL supported in the 2021-22 cohort. The social impact org, which provides dance therapy to those who have survived sexual trauma and various levels of violence in Baltimore city, recently made it past the audition stage on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

Wyskiel framed JHTV’s work behind these and other successes as part of JHT’s commitment to the city’s startup sector.

“In addition to helping Johns Hopkins startups, JHTV has always been a champion of Baltimore and its entrepreneurial ecosystem,” she said. “We want to see startups across the city succeed because that’s a rising tide will lift all boats. Baltimore is on its way to becoming a biotech hub and can become the center of digital health in the United States. The startup scene here is firmly established and there is cutting-edge technology coming out of universities and businesses in the region, plus proximity to the federal government that is attractive to industry.”

“The challenge is both keeping companies here as they grow and grabbing C-suite talent to oversee these bigger companies,” she added. “We have asked and will continue to ask for Baltimore and the state to invest more in infrastructure — specifically lab space — in order to attract and keep talent in the area.”

You can check out the full report below:

 


Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Companies: Johns Hopkins
People: Christy Wyskiel
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